Archive for the ‘ ~3 to 5 Miles~ ’ Category

Mercy Woods – Cumberland

 

The Town of Cumberland recently purchased 229 of the 243 acres of the Sisters of Mercy property for conservation and passive recreation. With the help of the Cumberland Land Trust, the Rhode Island Land Trust Council, and volunteers, Mercy Woods has become not only one of the newest trail systems, but handily one of the most beautiful in Rhode Island. The nearly six miles of trails are well blazed and mapped. For this hike, I led a group, following the Perimeter Walk, from the Sumner Brown Road parking area just off of Route 121. We crossed the road to follow the yellow blazed Mercy Loop. After crossing a field and passing a gate we were onto the trail. The trail winds pass the red blaze trail and turns to the east where it intersects with the blue blazed Ridge Trail. Look towards the right here just before the blue trail. Up on the hill is a pile of rocks, possibly a cairn or an impressive “balance artwork”. Following the blue blazes of the aptly named Ridge Trail for the next two miles leads you up and down some impressive hills, crossing a few streams, passing several stone walls, winding by large boulders and outcrops, along a ridge, and through a forest floor of ferns. The trail intersects with four red blazed trails (Stone Wall, Fisher, Fern, and Fiske) and crosses Sumner Brown Road. For this hike, we followed the blue blazes to their terminus at the Mercy Loop. The Warner Trail also joins the Ridge Trail for a bit. You will see a few white circle blazes along the way marking the long distance trail. When we reached the yellow blazes once again we turned left. Keep an eye out for the blazes as there are two trails to the left (one being not blazed). The remainder of the hike winds through the woods at the southern end of the property, passing through an open field, by power lines, then crosses Highland View Road before the final stretch that leads you back to the parking area.

 

Map can be found at: Mercy Woods.

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Along The Mercy Loop

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Big Lakes Trail – Providence

  • Big Lakes Trail – Roger Williams Park
  • Cladrashs Avenue, Providence, RI
  • Trailhead:  41°47’3.52″N, 71°24’44.76″W
  • Last Time Hiked: June 24, 2019
  • Approximate distance hiked: 3.6 miles
  • Easy.

 

The longest of the five marked trails at Roger Williams Park winds around the parks large lakes offering several nice views and plenty of opportunities to see birds. Being a loop you can start almost anywhere, but for this walk we started at the boathouse. The trail is well marked with white diamonds painted on sidewalks where posts are not available. From the boathouse, head east (away from the carousel), and cross the street at a crosswalk. The trail enters a wooded section along Cunliff Lake winding up and over a small hill before coming to the Temple to Music. This structure was built in 1924 and hosts concerts as well as other events. Continuing to follow the white blazes leads to a 600 foot section of road walking before the trail turns left into the woods and joins the yellow blazed Temple View Trail. The white blazed trail soon bears to the right and up hill coming to the back side of a baseball field, then left into the woods again before re-emerging to a grassy area at the southern end of the park. From here the trail swings around Elm Lake and begins to head north. This long stretch now follows the shores of Elm Lake, Cunliff Lake once again, and Edgewood Lake before coming to another road crossing.  After crossing the road the trail then hugs the shore of Pleasure Lake before coming to a pedestrian bridge that leads you back to the boathouse. The lakes are home to swans, geese, herons, egrets, and ducks. Several songbirds also dwell in the shrubs and bushes nearby. Turtles can be seen here as well, likely sunbathing on small fallen trees and branches stretching into the lakes. The shores are also usually occupied by people fishing for bass and sunfish. The park is also home to the Carousel Village and the Roger Williams Park Zoo. One could plan an entire day at the park!

 

Map can be found at: Big Lakes Trail.

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Temple To Music From The Opposite Shore.

Woonasquatucket River Bike Path – Providence/Johnston

  • Fred Lippett Woonasquatucket River Greenway Bike Path
  • Allepo Street, Providence, RI
  • Trailhead:  41°49’11.31″N, 71°26’52.80″W
  • Last Time Hiked: May 11, 2019
  • Approximate distance hiked: 4.8 miles
  • Easy.

 

Since the 1990’s the Onleyville section of Providence has been going through a revitalization and part of it has been the development of the Greenway. Merino Park, Donigian Park, and the most recently Riverside Park have been refurbished and reopened. The highlight of the Greenway is the 2.4 mile bike path from the outskirts of Onleyville, through Manton, and into Johnston. Starting at Allepo Street at Riverside Park in the shadows of the iconic Onleyville towers of the Atlantic Mills, the bike winds along side the river and through the park. Here is a community garden, a dam and waterfall, and a bike shop. The bike path then slowly climbs uphill meeting with the pedestrian bridge that leads to Merino Park. The bike then winds down hill and follows the bustling Route 6 for a bit passing the bike paths famous mural. The river at this point crosses under the highway.  The bike then starts to pull away from the highway and the river rejoins on the left just before passing under Glenbridge Avenue. From here on the bike path becomes much quieter as it pulls away from the city. Soon on the right is the Manton Gateway, a section of bike path that leads to the Manton neighborhood. There is also a skate park along that stretch. Continuing ahead the bike path crosses over the river. You are now entering Johnston. The Button Hole Golf Course is now on the left and the river is to the right. Just ahead is an access path to Hedley Avenue. Continuing ahead the bike path follows the river to Greenville Avenue. Use caution crossing here as this is a very busy street. After the crossing the bike path continues a little over a half mile to its terminus at Lyman Avenue. Along the way at the Goldsmith Street crossing take a peek at Manton Pond and its fish ladder by following Goldsmith north a few feet and then turning right following the path to the dam. After reaching the end of the bike path retrace your steps back to Onleyville for a roundtrip walk of nearly 5 miles.

 

Map can be found at: Woonasquatucket River Bike Path

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The Bike Path Crossing the Woonasquatucket River at the Providence/Johnston Border.

Tri Town Ridgeline Preserve East – North Stonington/Griswold/Preston

  • Tri Town Ridgeline Preserve East
  • Miller Road, North Stonington, CT
  • Trailhead:  41°30’46.39″N, 71°54’16.06″W
  • Last Time Hiked: August 21, 2018
  • Approximate distance hiked: 4.1 miles
  • Moderate, hills can be difficult.

 

This new Avalonia Conservancy property is large and sprawling offer several miles of trails. The longer blue blazed trail follows the perimeter of the property whereas the yellow blazed loop is shorter and explores the inner parts of the preserve. The red blazed trails serve as access and exits to and from the preserve. Do note that a portion of the blue trail has not been blazed yet pending finalization of land acquisitions and is expected to be completed in the autumn. For this hike, guided by a member of the Conservancy, we explored the eastern portion of the preserve utilizing a little of each trail. Starting from a small parking area at the bend in Miller Road we first followed the red blazed trail. We soon came to a marker for the blue blazed trail and continued ahead. The yellow trail comes in from the left  and shortly thereafter we turned to the right to continue to follow the blue blazes. The red and yellow blazed trail continues ahead and we would return from there. The blue trail, named the Wapayu Trail, then starts a steady climb up the first of several significant hills on the preserve. We passed several walls along the stretch that are believe to be of Native American origin. These are known as serpentine walls that twist and turn like a snake with a boulder at the end of the wall as its head. As the trail climbs over the hill and descends we came to the next trail intersection. Here the yellow trail (Fenway Trail) joins the blue blazed trail once again. This is also about where we entered Griswold. From here we followed the double blazed trail passing beautiful outcrops. Ahead the trails split again. The yellow blazed trail veers to the left and the blue blazed trail turns to the right sharply and climbs up another significant hill known as Rixtown Mountain, also known as Wapayu. Along the trail on the long steady climb we passed several cairns, several outcrops, and a vernal pool. (Note: that at the time of this hike the trail was blazed only with survey flagging and will be blazed by the autumn). Near the peak of Wapayu is a small rock formation along the trail. From here the trail descends and winds passing several impressive stone walls and an old quarry before traversing the northern reaches of the preserve. The blue trail once again joins the yellow trail for a bit as it crosses an area known as Oak Alley. The trees are very large and old along this stretch with an outcrop and stone wall on the left. The yellow and blue trails split once again to rejoin at the bottom of the hill. Follow the blue blazes down the hill and then back up another small hill, once again rejoined by yellow blazes before passing through a cairn field. The trail then turns sharply to the south following a babbling brook that we crossed just before an old stone dam at the edge of Lost Pond. The trail then climbs back uphill catching glimpses of Lost Pond on the left. We ignore a red blazed bypass trail on the left and continued straight. A little further the blue and yellow split one last time. We stayed on the blue trail climbing over a hill passing more cairns and entered Preston. At the next trail intersection we turned left onto the red blazed trail. It is an access road that runs south to the parking lot. For the remainder of the hike we followed the red blazes back into North Stonington passing an occasional outcrop. The red blazes are once again joined briefly by yellow and blue blazes before exiting the property. A map of the property is currently posted at the parking area. Also be sure to bring plenty of water. This hike can challenge your stamina.

 

Thank you to Carl Tjerandsen for leading this hike!

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Stone Wall Along Blue Trail

World War II Memorial Trail – Mansfield

  • World War II Memorial Trail – Nature Trail
  • Fruit Street, Mansfield, MA
  • Trailhead:  42° 0’22.08″N, 71°11’49.04″W
  • Last Time Hiked: August 13, 2018
  • Approximate distance hiked: 3.9 miles
  • Easy.

 

Two walks in one, literally. The World War II Memorial Trail follows a 1.6 mile stretch of the former Old Colony Railroad. The trail is a paved bike path that follows a straight section of former railroad from the Mansfield Airport along Fruit Street to the outer edges of downtown Mansfield at East Street. The trail is tree lined running through residential neighborhoods. At the midway point and west side of the bike path is the World War II Memorial Nature Trail. There is just about a mile of trails that meander through the woods here. The red blazed trail follows the perimeter of the property. The entire bike path out and back and the perimeter trail is just under 4 miles. Public parking is easier at Fruit Street.

 

Map can be found at: World War II Memorial Nature Trail

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The Bike Path in Mansfield

Prudence West – Portsmouth

  • Prudence West
  • Bay Avenue, Portsmouth, RI
  • Trailhead:  41°37’20.93″N, 71°19’21.29″W (1.5 miles from ferry)
  • Last Time Hiked: July 30, 2018
  • Approximate distance hiked: 3.1 miles
  • Fairly easy with some elevation.

 

This hike on the western side of Prudence Island covers a variety of trails. It starts at a picnic and parking area along Bay Road at the entrance of Pulpit Rock. The rock it self is a couple hundred feet from the trail head along the Blind Allen Trail. This rock is where Roger Williams use to preach to the Native Americans and is also believed to be the throne of Canonicus and Miantonomi of the Narragansett Tribe. Continuing a little further along the winding Blind Allen Trail you will come to a trail intersection. Take a left here onto the newly created Deer Chase Run. This trail, blazed with deer hoof symbols, slowly climbs up a hill that leads to the Desert, an area of the island that wind erosion has made unsuitable for farming. The area now is abundant with pitch pine trees and occasional areas of sand. Soon you will come to the intersection of the Desert Trail. Continue ahead here following the hoof symbols of Deer Chase Run. The trail winds slightly downhill to a bridge crossing at Mill Creek. The trail then winds easterly exiting at utility pole 11 along Sunset Hill Avenue. Turn right here and follow the dirt road for about a tenth of a mile passing the Sunset Hill Farm (Bacon Farm) on the right. Ahead of you will signage for trails. Continue straight and onto the trail. You will see signage for the Diamond Trail on a tree. Continue ahead for a bit and you will come to a trail intersection. This is the Diamond Trail. To the left it would lead you to Baker Farm. For this hike turn right onto the Diamond Trail and follow it, passing tall grasses and shrubs, for about two tenths of a mile to another dirt road. At the dirt road stay to the left and pass through the wall. You are now at a six trail intersection. Turn right here and start to follow the Division Wall Trail keeping the wall to your right for the time being. This trail is blazed with a mathematic division symbol. The wall, which runs almost completely across the island represents the division line between land owned by Roger Williams (to the north) and John Winthrop (to the south). The wall was built a century after the agreement was made in the 1630’s. The trail follows the wall dipping into a valley, crossing a small stream, and then slightly back uphill a bit before ascending to Bay Avenue. The Ballard Trail runs parallel to this trail and joins it before coming to the street. Across the street is the end of the wall and the Division Rock, the dividing point between the two property owners. Also at this location is the beginning of the Sunset Trail on which you will follow along the west shore of the island for a half mile. Along the way on the right you will find a grave of an unknown British sailor who perished in the American Revolution. The Sunset Trail ends at Chase Way, a dirt road. Stay to the left here and follow the road along the shoreline. The road passes Chase Beach before winding to the right. At the end of Chase Way turn left onto Bay Avenue and follow it to the parking area at Pulpit Rock.

 

NOTE: If you plan on hiking on Prudence Island, be known that the island is not commercialized. There are no restaurants, lodging, or transportation services. There are no public restrooms on the island except a composting toilet by the T-Wharf at the southern end of the island, which is several miles from most hikes. Once you are off the ferry you are on your own. Bring everything you will need for a day hike with no services. Furthermore, ticks are in abundance on the island. It is necessary to take precautions including proper clothing, sprays, and frequent checks.

 

 

Updated trail map can be purchased at NBNERR at South Prudence.

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Along The Division Wall Trail

Prudence South – Portsmouth

  • Prudence South – Narragansett Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve
  • T-Wharf Avenue, Portsmouth, RI
  • Trailhead:  41°35’25.29″N, 71°19’28.96″W (3 miles from ferry)
  • Last Time Hiked: July 29, 2018
  • Approximate distance hiked: 3.0 miles
  • Fairly easy, all road walking.

 

Once part of a Naval Base and ammunition storage facility during World War II, the southern end of Prudence Island is now a National Estuarine Research Reserve. The old roads of the former base offer several miles of walking “trails” on the property. For this hike, you will start at the Learning Center. Inside the building are several displays of the type of birds, butterflies, and flowers you may see along the hike. There is also a butterfly garden outside the building. From the Learning Center follow T-Wharf Avenue, just under a mile, south to the wharf itself. The wharf was built by the United States Navy and was quite active during the second world war. Today the wharf is used for recreational purposes. There is an Education Shed at the beginning of the wharf well worth checking out. Follow the wharf to its end for uninterrupted views of Jamestown and the Newport Bridge, but be sure to secure your cell phone. The spaces between the wharfs boards are just wide enough to lose a falling cell phone. Fishing is quite a common site here as well. Several types of birds can be commonly spotted here including seagulls, terns, and cormorants. Returning back to land turn left at the composting toilet (good time for a break if needed), and follow the gravel road (Levesque Memorial Road). It will lead you along an Interpretive Trail that offers an occasional informational board about the surrounding area. This road also offers areas along the left that reach out to the bay for some spectacular views including a memorial park with a picnic area. When you reach Brown Road, stay to the left. The road then starts to bend to the right to another intersection at Albro Farm Road. Stay to the right here and head east following the concrete road. You will start to see several former ammunition bunkers from yesteryear along this stretch. At the end of the road you will come to a Quonset Hut. Here turn left and retrace you steps back to the Learning Center.

 

NOTE: If you plan on hiking on Prudence Island, be known that the island is not commercialized. There are no restaurants, lodging, or transportation services. There are no public restrooms on the island except a composting toilet by the T-Wharf at the southern end of the island, which is several miles from most hikes. Once you are off the ferry you are on your own. Bring everything you will need for a day hike with no services. Furthermore, ticks are in abundance on the island. It is necessary to take precautions including proper clothing, sprays, and frequent checks.

 

 

Trail map can be found at: Prudence South.

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Newport Bridge From The Southern Point of Prudence Island

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